Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Scandal of 1922: Part X

The trial of Chief John Cruise continues. Interestingly, it seems to have been conducted only on Friday afternoons and evenings and on Saturdays, so as not to interfere with the lawyers' busy schedules. The "somewhat sensational" testimony of the detectives hired by the Commission of Public Safety to investigate "the situation" in Hudson has concluded. When the trial reconvened on May 19, 1922, the first witnesses were character witnesses. Gossips recounts their testimony as it was reported in the Columbia Republican on May 23.
The first witness called in behalf of the chief was former Mayor Charles S. Harvey, who testified to the good character of the Chief and to his efficiency as a police officer.
As Mayor he was very close to the police department, visiting the police headquarters nearly every day but no complaints against the chief had ever come to his attention in his official capacity.
Under cross-examination by Mr. Coffin, Mayor Harvey said that during his term as Mayor he had heard that there were houses of prostitution and gambling in existence and he had asked the Chief to go out and investigate and that the Chief stated that everything was all right.
He had never heard that Chief Cruise had been before the Commission on charges of intoxication and for not paying his bills.
Upon being pressed to name a person who had discussed the reputation of Chief Cruise for morality and honesty the Mayor remembered that he had discussed the Chief's reputation with Michael Hannon and Capt. Hogan and that they thought it was good.
The next witness was Capt. Hogan, who testified that the general reputation of the Chief was good. . . .
Under cross-examination, Capt. Hogan testified that he based his testimony as to the Chief's reputation on his own opinion, tho he had heard some people discuss the chief's reputation. He testified that whenever he stopped at Police Headquarters he found the Chief in headquarters. . . .
John Hogan, a former Police Commissioner of the city, was the next witness. . . . Mr Hogan had never heard any public discussion about Chief Cruise's reputation for morality, sobriety and truth and veracity, tho he had never heard any one say anything against him. 
Mr Hogan was cross-examined as to the time when he, as a commissioner, voted to fine Chief Cruise one day's pay for visiting the Hotel Lincoln. Mr Hogan said that on that occasion the Chief pleaded guilty and the Commission fined the Chief one day's pay for drinking a glass of sarsaparilla on the stoop of the Hotel Lincoln at 2 or 2:30 in the morning.
Mr Hogan said that his testimony as to the chief's character was based on his own knowledge of and official dealings with Chief Cruise, and not on the speech of people.
In the next part of our coverage of Chief Cruise's trial, we will recount the testimony of the police officers serving under Chief Cruise, including our favorite Officer Frank Miller.

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